Last week I reviewed a case study on treating chronic extertional compartment syndrome (CECS) by switching gait strike pattern in runners from heel-strike to forefoot-strike (HERE) by Diebal et al. The same authors followed up their case study with another case series on the same topic.
Again, the authors sought to determine if switching runners with CECS from a heel-strike pattern to a forefoot-strike relieved pain and improved function. They examined 10 runners who were candidates for fasciotomies undergoing a 6 week running intervention program.
Following the running intervention program, anterior compartment pressure after running decreased from an average of 78 to 38 mmHg. Vertical ground reaction forces also significantly decreased while running distance improved from a mean of 1.4km to 4.8km. One year after the intervention program, 2 mile run times were significantly improved and no patients had to undergo surgery.
The authors concluded that a forefoot-strike gait patten intervention can reduce the pain and disability that comes with CECS which may help patients avoid surgery for this condition.
Diebal, Gregory, Alitz, Gerber. (2012). Forefoot running improves pain and disability associated with chronic exertional compartment syndrome. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 40(5).